Setting Strategic Goals

Discover effective goal-setting techniques to drive your business strategy forward, including articulation, the Balanced Scorecard and TOWS.


  1. The role of goals in strategy
  2. How we describe goals
  3. Using the Balanced Scorecard to set goals
  4. Using TOWS to set goals
  5. Where to find Goals
  6. Linking Goals within your Strategy

The role of goals in strategy

Goals are how we articulate strategic direction. They describe different aspects of where an organisation needs to go or to improve in order to be successful.

How we describe goals

The best goal statements tend to consist of a verb (an action word/phrase) followed by a noun (a word/phrase that describes a thing). For example:

  • Increase(verb) customer sasfaction with after sales service(noun)
  • Improve(verb) production line up time(noun)

Goals expressed in this way have the effect of commanding action to be taken.

Goals should also be directional and don't need to be measurable. They will be broken down into SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound) objectives later.

Using the Balanced Scorecard to set goals

Balanced ScorecardWe can use the Balanced Scorecard to help us set well-balanced and integrated goals.

The Balanced Scorecard advocates for setting goals across 4 perspectives:

  1. Financial: What success looks like financially (to owners)
  2. Customer: What success looks like to customers.
  3. Internal Business Processes: What internal business process performance must we achieve to be successful?
  4. Learning and Innovation: What do we need to do to be able to achieve the above on a sustainable basis?

The theory of the Balanced Scorecard is that success in each layer helps to achieve success in the layers above it. You can learn more about the Balanced Scorecard here.

Using TOWS to set goals

You can use the strategic insights on your SWOT Analysis to help you set strategic goals using the TOWS framework as follows:

  • TOWS MatrixOffensive Goals (SO): use strengths to take advantage of opportunities.
  • Defensive Goals (WO): choose opportunities which don't rely on capabilities which are weak.
  • Strengthening Goals (ST): use strengths to minimise threats.
  • Survival Goals (WT): minimise weaknesses and avoid threats.

Where to find Goals

You can find and set your Goals in the Direction section of

  1. Log in to
  2. Select the project you want to work with.
  3. Click on "Direction" on the main menu.
  4. Select "Goals" on the Selector at the top of the page that follows.
  5. Select either the Balanced Scorecard view, or the RASCI view which provides a stakeholder perspective on your goals.

You can also find your goals:

  1. On the Goal/Initiative Matrix in the Planning section,
  2. On your Strategy Scorecard in the Results section.

Linking Goals within your Strategy

You can link Goals to:

  1. Strategic Insights, to illustrate why the goals are important.
  2. Initiatives (or Actions), to show how you will achieve them.
  3. Stakeholders (people), to show who is Accountable, Responsible, etc. for them.

See also:

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Updated: 2024-07-21